Students sound off on Crimson Ride's servicesBy Ashanka Kumari | 04/01/2013 11:00pm
From 2012 to 2013, the Crimson Ride service averaged more than 11,000 daily riders with the highest daily total of 15,646 in February 2013, director of transit Ralph Clayton said.
Clayton said it costs $151,975.23 each month to offer the Crimson Ride service on The University of Alabama campus.
“We provide a myriad of services to the University including charter services, downtown express, shopping shuttles, 348-Express, and we work with Housing and Residential Communities to provide shuttles to the Birmingham Airport,” Clayton said.
Despite the number and variety of services, some students said they feel these services are not consistent.
“The Crimson Ride is an invaluable service that many students across campus rely on for a vast amount of reasons, from needing an emergency ride at night, or simply getting to class on time,” Bryan Tapley, a junior majoring in criminal justice, said. “A positive experience happens daily with the consistent pick-up times and even disbursement of the buses. However, there have been multiple times that drivers of the Crimson Express have failed, for whatever reason, to stop and pick people up at Lloyd.”
Drivers, who are employed by First Transit, must meet a minimal set of requirements to be hired, Clayton said. This includes a minimum of a commercial driver’s license with passenger endorsement, Department of Transportation physical, drug screening and background checks.
“Once through the hiring process, they have a minimum of 18 hours in class training, 20 hours driving training and four hours cadetting under a senior operator where they are evaluated,” he said. “The drivers have a detailed company policy and rulebook that are enforced by First Transit supervisors and manager.”
Bethany Sack, a junior majoring in music, said she feels the buses are often clumped together, which causes a longer wait time.
“I have had to wait over 30 minutes for a Crimson Express bus because they were all next to each other,” Sack said. “In addition to [an] unnecessary, prolonged wait time, unevenly spaced buses lead to overcrowding on the first bus in line.”
However, Tapley and Sack both said they feel the new Crimson Express route has been a good addition to the Crimson Ride bus system.
“I love the fact that the Crimson Ride added the ‘Crimson Express’ bus route this year because it avoids some of the back roads and takes students back to their car without stopping at less-populated stops,” Tapley said.
Sack said while this new route is a beneficial addition, she feels the drivers do not always stick to the established route.
“Frequently I have had bus drivers make extra stops as if it were a Crimson route, which ruins the point of having two separate routes,” Sack said. “We choose the Crimson Express for a reason. I love the added Crimson Express route, but it is only effective if the bus driver sticks to the designated route.”
Leading in today's Crimson White: